Eric Helliwell


Eric Helliwell

I am an IT guy who has done a fair bit of traveling. I grew up in the same town I went to college, so I guess I needed to get around a bit more when I got older. I decided to blog my future journeys so I can actually reflect on the them when they are done.

The most important thing to me when I travel is to get a feel for the history, natural landscape, and people of an area. If you can understand the way a people interact with it's land and how past events have shaped their thoughts about others, you will really understand the culture. I will take a fixed tour occasionally, but mostly I enjoy talking to locals and getting recommendations so I can take in things they see as important in their own land.

South America » Colombia » Bogota September 19th 2016

Well, two weeks in and I am settled into life in Bogota. Sorry about the lack of accents but I use a Spanish keyboard for email but can't easily switch in Chrome with other apps. Anyway, I like Chapinero and it's ease to move around the city. I will have to get some more photos but I never take my phone since it doesn't work without local cell service so I always forget to take it for just photos. Anyway, some of the things I like are the local feel of residents here, reasonable food and stores. There is a lot of graffiti, but interestingly, the shop owners hire artists to paint over this. Most of the storefronts are just metal security frontages, so painting them actually makes sense. From what I see, good art won't ... read more

South America » Colombia » Bogota September 4th 2016

The trip from Atlanta was uneventful and easy. The food on Delta business class I can say is exceptionally good. I flew business since the difference was almost paid for by the free bag check-in and I had a lot, including a suitcase of books. Mauricio from, which arranged the internship, met me at the airport as planned and took me to the apartment I had rented. Mauricio is a philosophy grad from San Tomas University, which happens to be right next to me strangely enough. He will also take me to work the first day on Monday and I hope to speak with him more over time. He has worked with the Foundation before. Since it was late, the keys were left at the front desk with security. The security, by the way, is ... read more
Church plaza
Washing machine

Europe » Germany September 27th 2011

After a long flight layover day back from Croatia, I met Tim in Munich for some Octoberfest and some exploring in Munich. I have to say Octoberfest was a one time thing for me as it was really expensive food and beer and really more of a Bavarian cultural thing that was kind of hard to penetrate. People generally reserve these tables way in advance and a large group is what is best to take this in. Still it was nice to see a lot of drunk people in really nice clothes. Walking a lot of Munich with its really clean streets, the one jewel I would say you have to see is the Duetches Museum. It is an incredible collection of technology items that takes you through the history of innovation really. Maybe not everyone's ... read more
Tim bought the hat
One liter beer later
The thinker

Europe » Croatia September 25th 2011

I had booked a hotel at the Onejada on my way to Dubrovnik for when I came back up. This place was great right on the water and had everything you would need in walking distance. Makastra is a little touristy, but a great place for a couple since there are lots of restaurants and romantic walks along the trails along the water. Also some great mountain views. On the way back to Split, I stopped in Onis for a boat tour of the canyons that lie behind on a river that feeds into the sea.... read more
These were my wheels which I tried to park in shade
Makastra mountain view
Wlking paths

Europe » Bosnia & Herzegovina September 24th 2011

Nice little inland trip to this city. Great place to buy gifts. You can park near the old town (however, some locals try to collect parking fees where they are not authorized, so park away from them). Had a few beers at Johnie's place (see photos). There are divers that jump off the local bridge here that provide some good entertainment. Also, if you are in to seeing the effects of war, you can see many bombed out buildings here which should always be a reminder to all of us the after effects. ... read more
From the bridge
View of old town
Closer view of bridge

Europe » Bosnia & Herzegovina September 23rd 2011

I was on my way to Dubrovnik and needed a place to stay on the way as I didn't wnt to do the full drive from Split the same day. I ended up getting recommended a town in Bosnia Herzogvina that was reasonable. Note that you need to cross a small section of coastal Herzogovina region to get to Dubrovnik. I found a beautiful little hotel run by Rajan and his family. A lot of people I guess skip right through Bosnia, but it is great value and the people are very kind and real. The sea is the same as in Croatia so really, I would consider coming again. The town is not as prosperous as its Croatian counterparts, but it is plenty clean and you are getting those deeper discounts. Rajan's wife made me ... read more
View of sea below from Hotel
Front view
View from hotel

Europe » Croatia September 22nd 2011

I did a tour North of Split to Zadar which is a beautiful ride. Spent a night in Vodarice which is a lower end resort town. I spent two nights in a small village near the airport between Trogir and Split. I recommend this hotel Villa Zarco as it was really clean and had direct access to swim in the sea. I also had great dinner at the only restaurant near here that you don't need to drive to. An overview of all of Croatia is mountains coming up against the Adriatic and over a tousand Islands where always one seems to be in view no matter where you are. I would say it is defintely worth seeing. However, I do think places like Hawaii are really beatiful as well since you get sand and waves ... read more
My hotel near Split
View of Spit from shore near hotel
Sunset of Trogir looking other way from hotel

Europe » Austria September 20th 2011

Sorry, no photos here since my camera battery was dead. Anyway, just imagine the sound of music as the place basically does look like that. I had my first bout of bad weather here as it rained for two days. I did get a nice view of the Alps going on the bus to an ice cavern tour as it was just before the rain started. I can really recommend this tour as it is the largest ice cave in the world and has some really interested shapes forming. I also recommend seeing the main Fortress/Castle as it is the oldest preserved one in Europe. There is a great audio tour you can take. The views from here are the best in Salzburg. This castle was never taken by force as Salzburg had Salt reserves which ... read more

Europe » Austria September 17th 2011

Well, I arrived at the pinnacle of the Habsburg Empire. Vienna is definitely more New York big city stuff. The buildings are older, but it was hit during the war, so there was rebuilding also. The base of operations here is the Ring which goes around all the Museums and famous sights. I pretty much decided that seeing the museums was where I wanted to spend some time here. After all, the kings and queens were here and they had the "stuff". I have to highly recommend the National Museum. The collection of antiquities in there is unmatched to anything I have seen before. All major museums will have classical and Egyption works, but all this stuff was incredible quality, like no missing ears or noses on sculptures. The stuff looked more like a few hundred ... read more
Queen Sisi
Typical Viennese Street
Old cafe

Europe » Slovakia September 13th 2011

Two days in Bratislava, the capital. There was no Hydrofoil from Budapest so did train. There is one to Vienna so I'll give a review of that in my Vienna report. This area was totally bombed out after the war, so this was a really depressing place for a long time. There is major money pumping in here now and the Old Town looks nice. I really like all these cities at night more than day and they really did nice mood lighting on the old streets. Actually, Slovakia I read sold a lot of its blown-up stone work to Germany when it rebuilt, but they appear to have found some new stuff. I have never seen so many cafes in one place in my life. The thing here is to take a walking tour (very ... read more
Waiting for the kids of Hostel
Photo shoot
Window art

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